Irreligion in the Maldives

In the Maldives, it is constitutionally required that all citizens identify as Sunni Muslim, leading to institutionally sanctioned religious oppression against non-Muslims and ex-Muslims who currently reside in the country.


Mohammed Nazim

During a question-and-answer session at one of Indian Muslim orator Zakir Naik's lectures May 29, 2010 on the Maldives, a 37-year-old Maldivian citizen named Mohamed Nazim stood up and announced that he was struggling to believe in any religion and did not consider himself to be a Muslim, Nazim further asked what his verdict would be under Islam and in the Maldives.[1][2] Zakir responded that he considers the punishment for apostasy not necessarily to mean death since Muhammed was reported in the Hadith scriptures to on some occasion to have shown clemency towards apostates, but added that if a Muslim apostate speaks and propagates against Islam under Islamic Shari’a rule then the apostate should be put to death.[1]

Mohamed Nazim was reported to have been arrested and put in protective custody by the Maldivian Police. He later publicly reverted to Islam in custody after receiving two days of counseling by two Islamic scholars, but was held awaiting possible charges.[3][4][5]

Ismail Mohammed Didi

On July 14, 2010, Maldivian news site Minivan News[6] reported that 25-year-old air traffic controller Ismail Mohamed Didi had sent two e-mails, dated June 25, to international human rights organisations declaring that he was an atheist ex-Muslim and that he desired help with his asylum application (directed to the United Kingdom) due to increased repression from family and colleague shunning and anonymous death threats via phone. The same day that the report was posted, Didi was found hanged in the aircraft control tower at Malé International Airport in an apparent suicide.[7]


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